Phoenix Dry Stretch: 85 Days and Counting

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sunset in north phoenix
Sunset last night from North Phoenix. Photo by Robert Roy Britt

Yes, yes, it’s the desert. But the current dry spell in the Valley of the Sun, while not record-setting, has been unlike any stretch this time of year in more than four decades.

At the region’s primary measuring station, Sky Harbor Airport, it hasn’t rained for 85 days—since Aug. 23, according to the National Weather Service. The only other year in which this particular stretch of the year hasn’t gotten wet was 1973. This dry spell is the 8th longest on record for the entire summer/fall/winter period, the weather service announced today.

The story is similar in North Phoenix, but due to the spotty nature of the monsoon, there were a few raindrops. One stray shower dropped 0.08 inches of precipitation into a gauge between Anthem and New River. But the rest of the region was bone dry.

Over the past 90 days—a stretch that includes the last rainfall at Sky Harbor, during the monsoon—there were modest amounts of rain at rain gauges in NoPho. The totals, measured by the Maricopa County Flood Control District, ranged from 0.12 inches near Anthem to 0.39 inches in Norterra.

Despite some sprinkles spotted in Anthem and elsewhere in North Phoenix today, there’s no rain in the forecast through the Thanksgiving weekend, the NWS said today. If that holds true—and if today’s sprinkles don’t amount to measurable precip—the dry spell will have run 95 days. That’s nowhere near the all-time record of 160 rain-free days, set in 1972.

Oh, and the weather service expects La Nina conditions this winter, which would tend to bring drier-than-normal conditions to the Southwest into early next year.


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Robert Roy Britt
NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.
Robert Roy Britt on Email

Robert Roy Britt

NoPho resident Robert Roy Britt has written for In&Out publications since its inception in 2005. Britt began his journalism career in New Jersey newspapers in the early 1990s. He later became a science writer and was editor-in-chief of the online media sites Space.com and Live Science. He has written four novels. Email the author.

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